Best Reads of 2019

Many of you in this lockdown are juggling extra responsibilities, working from home, wrangling small children or elderly relatives who won’t stay put, and perhaps bouncing off some walls. Please know that I am thinking of you, and I hope you are finding a few moments of peace each day. If that’s not you though,…

Best of: February

I’ve never featured the same author twice in once month here before, although there are some who have popped up multiple times (looking at you particularly Diane Setterfield and Patrick Gale). But at the launch of her new memoir about graveyards (obviously a must-read here in tombtown), Jean Sprackland mentioned that she had been writing…

Cemetery as Muse

The daffodils are out and suddenly the end of my residency at Brompton Cemetery is drawing closer. It’s so far held many of the things I hoped for, and also many things I didn’t expect at all. I have been spending as much time there as possible, meeting volunteers and visitors, participating in activities and…

Best of: January

This post almost didn’t make it; in fact, these are the only three books that I read in January (if you don’t count a few Enid Blytons). It was a difficult month. I was exhausted, and extremely anxious about the fires close to my family, so I gave my mind some time off. I watched…

Best of: December

Is it the middle of January already? I won’t say ‘how did that happen?’ because I know it’s because of three and a half weeks in Australia and a couple of weeks being ill. I’m keeping up my ‘Best of’ posts, but I’ve decided to let myself off the hook in making a shorter list…

Best of: November

Scraping it in under the wire with this one, things got away from me a bit at the beginning of December and we’ve been in Australia for the last few weeks. It’s going to be 41C today though, so I am hiding in the house with the air-conditioner on, and I thought I may as…

Review: Knithoard

Miss Marple gave a tinkly little laugh.‘You’re so severe – of course the weather is a very English subject of conversation – one forgets – Oh dear – this is the wrong coloured wool.’ […]‘Take me back inside,’ said Mr Rafiel. ‘I’ll have my massage now before that chattering hen comes back.’ Presenting herself as…

Best of: October

Of these three, the Alice Oswald was the only book that I chose for myself this month. One was a gift, and one was recommended many times by a booktuber I follow before I finally picked it up when I happened to walk past it in a shop. Every so often I wonder whether I…

Review: A Kingdom of Love

Accept my body as transgression,My lungs for greed, guts for sloth,My bones for pride, and envy: my loins. Receive my tongue with all itsHoneyed compromise; there will be tears.My skin: confessional, a slate cleaned. This first collection from priest and writer Rachel Mann is filled with rich imagery and visceral language of the body. The…

Best of: September

Once again, it took me about three seconds to choose my top three books from last month, I love it when it’s easy! I’ve already reviewed Reckless Paper Birds in full, so do go and read that post if you haven’t yet, and I’ll just give it a few words below. I know the whole…